Abandoned communites, education and Obama

20 Jan 2009 by Karl Hallam

Walking past boarded-up houses and litter on the way to school can have a devastating effect on children's behaviour and exam results says a report featured in The Guardian today. Is this the sort of thing that soon to be President Obama understands?

This is certainly the kind of report that inspires Cadence. It articulates so much of what we have experienced in our work on play, youth provision and public realm and fits well with our research proposals on; primary schools and regeneration and anti-social behaviour walking and cycling.

One More Broken Window: The Impact of the Physical Environment on Schools was written and researched by Perpetuity Group, a Leicester-based research and consultancy firm, for the Nasuwt teaching union.

Here are some bits from the article:

Five minutes from the playground, rows of terraces have been boarded up and large iron bars strapped over their doors and windows. Its pupils pass overflowing rubbish bins on their way to school. Teachers say these surroundings make pupils more likely to be disruptive, aggressive and depressed.

"Regeneration and urban planners need to link up better with education policy-makers. School buildings are getting attention from the policy-makers, but the physical environment outside school grounds doesn't tend to be focused on."

There is often talk of pubs, Post Offices and churches being the hubs of communities, but schools probably fit the bill better. Some might argue that investing in the local school could be a way of 'lifting' an area, but this report suggests that the local environment's condition needs considersation too.

A great deal of inner city America gives the impression that it and it's people have been abandoned. Obama's election has provided hope to those who feel abandonned, but after all the excitement has abated kids will still be educated along side boarded up windows on litter strewn streets and that could prove as much of a challenge as freeing up the credit markets and getting out of Iraq.

 

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